Benefits Management – Ultimate Software's Blog https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com Thoughts on Putting People First in the Workplace Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:47:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 United Stationers: An Open Enrollment Success Story https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/united-stationers-an-open-enrollment-success-story/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/united-stationers-an-open-enrollment-success-story/#respond Mon, 04 Jun 2012 13:44:26 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=190 Back in March I wrote on the importance of choosing the right benefits and how providing decision support to employees is critical. In my role at Ultimate, I speak with many Ultimate Software open enrollment customers to better understand how they are leveraging UltiPro’s benefits enrollment solution to streamline benefits administration and help employees make […]

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Back in March I wrote on the importance of choosing the right benefits and how providing decision support to employees is critical. In my role at Ultimate, I speak with many Ultimate Software open enrollment customers to better understand how they are leveraging UltiPro’s benefits enrollment solution to streamline benefits administration and help employees make informed benefits decisions. Many customers do a great job of leveraging their open enrollment solution—and I wanted to share one example of a true benefits enrollment process best practice from our customer, United Stationers. United Stationers is a leading North American wholesale distributor of business products that has found tremendous success with UltiPro for open enrollment. They’ve not only achieved quick adoption of the solution, but through effectively communicating and educating on available benefits, they’re helping those employees make smart and informed benefits decisions.

How did they do this? Let’s take a step back.

With almost 6,000 employees, 64 distribution facilities, 24-hour operations, and a workforce with limited computer knowledge/access (only a small percentage have company emails), United Stationers was faced with many challenges. These challenges included:

  • How to efficiently administer employee benefits to such a large, dispersed and diverse workforce?
  • How to ensure that they’re effectively communicating and educating employees on all the benefits being offered?
  • How to provide employees with the tools they need to make informed benefits decisions?

After years of using a phone-based open enrollment process, United Stationers took the plunge and conducted their first online open enrollment in 2011. Remarkably, within the first year they were able to achieve a 94% employee completion rate. These amazing results were achieved by:

  • Planning early – United Stationers started planning their implementation, communications and training materials 3-6 months in advance
  • Communicating over various channels – mailings were sent to associates homes, a Sharepoint site was set up as well as an UltiPro Welcome Page Gadget
  • Providing tools that easily explain benefit plans and changes – United Stationers offered kiosks for their associates to leverage the online solution and prepared easy-to-use & accessible training materials – all with consistent messaging
  • Being available to employees for questions and support – because questions were inevitable they held open forum Q&A sessions, built step-by-step guides, trained HR Services, and created a special email box for annual enrollment questions.
  • Leveraging the capabilities of their online open enrollment solution to the fullest – through UltiPro’s robust messaging capabilities, they were able to include session information, benefit plan information, education and comparison tools – basically everything their people needed to make informed benefits decisions.

There are many organizations like United Stationers. Organizations with progressive thoughts around how to administer, communicate and roll out important employee benefits information but with a disbursed, offline workforce. If you want to streamline benefits administration and enable employees to make informed benefits decision, do what United Stationers did. Start planning early, engage your people through various channels. and take full advantage of your solutions capabilities.

Because if you truly want to put your people first it is imperative that you prove it through a great benefits experience.

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Buying a House, Saving for Retirement and Choosing Benefits https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/buying-a-house-saving-for-retirement-and-choosing-benefits/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/buying-a-house-saving-for-retirement-and-choosing-benefits/#respond Tue, 20 Mar 2012 12:23:24 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=93 Today I want to talk about something that is very important to all of us: choosing the right benefits. I relate to this because as someone with a wife and two small sons at home, it’s absolutely critical that I choose the right benefits for my family. Given that I’m responsible for HR & Benefits […]

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Today I want to talk about something that is very important to all of us: choosing the right benefits. I relate to this because as someone with a wife and two small sons at home, it’s absolutely critical that I choose the right benefits for my family. Given that I’m responsible for HR & Benefits within Ultimate’s UltiPro and I’ve spent my entire career studying and managing benefits solutions, I am fortunate to have the knowledge and tools necessary to make informed benefits decisions. Unfortunately, for most people, knowing how to differentiate and select benefits can be confusing and daunting. This fact is very concerning because outside of buying a house and saving for retirement, choosing the right benefits is probably the most important decision a person will make.

At this point you may be thinking, “He’s just saying this because he has spent his career in benefits.” This may be true but let me explain it from my vantage point.

The reality is that benefits are important because of their potential impact on one’s personal and financial well-being. Based on recent data from Mercer, an employee’s annual healthcare cost for a family of four is expected to top $10,000 in 2012. That is approaching almost $1,000 per month! At that level, we are in the ballpark of a monthly mortgage payment. This is where the similarities end. The reason is that unlike buying a house, if you choose the wrong benefit plan you could suffer catastrophic financial losses should you get sick or have a health problem that is not covered. Even worse you might not even be able to get the medical treatment you desperately need. I think this makes it pretty clear why understanding how to choose the right benefits is important.

What’s ironic is that most people spend only a few minutes choosing their benefits and do so with very little information. This is where the need for benefits decision support comes in. As a business owner or HR leader who wants your people to make informed benefit decisions, it is critical that you provide the tools for them to do so. This includes: 1) definitions of key benefit terms, 2) the pros and cons of each benefit plan being offered, and 3) comparison tools that can be used to determine the benefit plan that is best tailored towards their unique personal situation. Historically speaking, people have relied on their employers to provide the information needed to make informed benefits decisions. This approach, however, is becoming ineffective at a very rapid pace. This is because the younger generations entering the workforce rely almost solely on their social networks for all kinds of advice. Now I’m not new to the workforce, but soliciting benefits advice from my friends and family using my social network seems like a much better approach to me.

So my message is, take your time and be wise in your benefits decisions. If you are the person responsible for benefits management in your organization, take it upon yourself to provide your people with the information and tools they need to make informed benefits decisions. Put yourself in their shoes. Failure to do so can have terrible consequences for everyone.

Here’s to putting people first.

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